Just about every single film site on the planet – IMDb, Yahoo Movies, Variety, Rotten Tomatoes et al – has been Tweeting, Facebooking and generally plugging the same photograph today . The first available shot of Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in the new film version of The Lone Ranger.
We haven’t been told much more about it, other than it’s a Disney/Bruckheimer extravaganza due for release in May 2013 and that Depp recently told CNN that the part of Tonto “feels like another Captain Jack to me.” Apart from that, we’re left to make up our own minds. Which is just as well.
I’d be the first to admit that passing judgement on a film based on just one still and over a year in advance of its possible release is less than fair and probably asking for trouble. Nonetheless, I’m going to say it. This does not look good.
The more I look at the photograph, the more I think Bruckheimer should have waited until 1 April to release it. At least everybody would have known that it was a joke. It is, isn’t it? Please tell me it is – and that we’re not meant to take it seriously.
The original TV version of The Lone Ranger was a favourite with kids – me included – so there are plenty of us with a sentimental attachment to the show. But there are just as many who are too young to remember it and would find it a laughable period piece today. And, if the reactions on Facebook are anything to go by, that’s exactly how they feel about this pic and the forthcoming film.
It doesn’t bode well. Not only does Johnny Depp appear to be sporting a dead bird on his head and suffering from a nasty case of runny mascara, his comment to CNN almost implies that he plans to conduct the rest of his career playing variations on the same character. Armie Hammer poses beautifully – the camera likes him and it would be rude not to oblige – but I still can’t take him seriously as an actor after his performance as an aging jelly baby in J Edgar. And where, oh where, is Silver? He’s probably our best chance of some half decent acting but isn’t in the frame – yet.
No doubt the Disney Corporation is monitoring reactions to the photograph – in which case their formidable marketing machine must already be working on putting things right in time for May next year.
I wish them luck.